Iran seeks meeting over sanctions: In a letter to Federica Mogherini, the European Union (EU) High Representative of the Union for Foreign Affairs and Security Policy, the Islamic Republic of Iran is asking for a meeting with the P5+1 powers to discuss what Tehran calls is a U.S. violation of the Iran nuclear deal.
Iran claims the recent U.S. extension of the Iran Sanctions Act breaches the landmark nuclear accord reached in 2015.
Following the lengthening of the sanctions for another decade beginning in January 2017, Iran announced its plans to embark on a program to develop nuclear propulsion for surface ships.
Kremlin blames U.S. for fall of Palmyra to ISIS: Following the fall of Palmyra, Syria, to the Islamic State (ISIS) last weekend, the Russian government is blaming U.S. inaction for the militant group’s military success.
Russian Ministry of Defense spokesman General Igor Konashenkov told reporters at a MOD briefing the American refusal to apply pressure on ISIS stronghold Raqqa enabled the militant group to send fighters to drive Syrian troops from Palmyra.
Konashenkov also hinted the prolonged siege of Aleppo prevented Syrian troops from defending Palmyra, but stated the lack of American cooperation resulted in Palmyra falling into the hands of ISIS.
ISIS had been driven from Palmyra by Syrian troops in March.
European Union inks deal with Cuba: In a first, the EU and the government of Cuba signed a treaty Monday strengthening ties and promoting both economic cooperation and political dialogue.
The agreement follows a March accord seeking to normalize relations between the economic bloc and Cuba.
Until Monday’s pact, largely due to Cuba’s human rights record, Cuba remained the only Latin American nation without diplomatic recognition from the EU.
China seizes U.S. drone in South China Sea: An underwater glider drone operated by a U.S. naval vessel, the USNS Bowditch, was seized by a Chinese warship in the South China Sea on Thursday, resulting in a formal protest lodged by the United States.
The Bowditch had been engaged in collecting water samples and measuring the ocean floor.
China opposes missions of this nature, often describing them as intelligence operations, but has pledged to return the drone.
European Union lengthens Russia sanctions: In a much anticipated vote, the EU has endorsed the extension of sanctions against Russia for an additional six months over the Kremlin’s actions in Ukraine.
EU officials stated Russia has not done enough to fulfill its obligations in accordance with the Minsk peace agreements.
Responding to the EU’s vote, Russian Prime Minister Dmitri Medvedev admitted the Russian Federation plans on keeping its embargo on EU food products firmly in place.
[RT] [Reuters] [The Hill]